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Meet the Class of 2022: Max Cordoba

When incoming first-year Theatre and Math major Max Cordoba flew to Los Angeles in February to attend the National Unified Auditions—a one-stop shop for high school seniors to audition for multiple universities—he had never even heard of Butler University. The Neward, California native’s intention was to audition for mainly private schools that had a special musical theatre degree, explore those options, and then pick whichever school felt right, offered the best financial aid, and allowed him to learn more about not only the fine arts, but math as well.

He spotted Butler’s name and decided it was in his best interest to at least do one more session—it was additional practice, after all.

In most auditions, Cordoba was asked to perform two monologues and two songs. In the audition with Butler, Professor of Theatre William Fisher asked Cordoba to do one of each to start. Cordoba chose to sing Beautiful City from the Broadway production Godspell. For his monologue, he chose to read an excerpt as Hank from Marvin’s Room—a piece he believed would put him “over the top for the audition.”

After his monologue, Fisher and Cordoba made an instant connection over Marvin’s Room.

"I almost thought my audition with Butler was going to be a practice session, but after my talk with Professor William Fisher, I thought this could be the right school,” Cordoba said.

Cordoba explained to Fisher that he is a big theatre lover, but he wanted to also major in something a little more practical.

“I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, and I wanted to ensure I had math as a back-up since a major in theatre isn’t foolproof,” Cordoba said. “I really needed a school that understood that about me.”

Most schools Cordoba had talked to previously in the day had told him that pursuing math with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) was not a possibility. Fisher explained that at Butler it’s not a BFA, but rather a Bachelor of Arts, which offers more flexibility, as well as the option to incorporate his passion for math.

“He really convinced me to at least explore more,” Cordoba said, “Even though it’s really far away, Butler seemed open to my diverse interests.”

In April, Cordoba—joined by his grandfather—started the on-campus college visit journey,  exploring the various schools he was interested in—including Butler. While on campus, Cordoba had the opportunity to speak with professors, including Chair of the Theatre Department, Diane Timmerman. He also sat in on an improv class.

“The students were making me laugh. Just from that show alone, I saw what I loved about theatre,” he said. “The students were super friendly and amiable, and they love to act and perform.” When he left for his trip, he was excited about all the schools he was about to explore. After the trip, though, he realized that when he was making his rounds, he always found at least one thing he didn’t like—except for when he was at Butler.

“What really set it in stone for me for Butler was that it was a smaller school than most I was looking at, but it had a big school feel,” Cordoba said.

Cordoba arrived on campus August 12, and feels just as excited as nervous—as most students are their first year. Cordoba’s distance from his friends and family definitely makes it harder, especially when he was so involved with various theatre and chorus groups for the past eight years.

Despite the nervousness of new surroundings and being so far from home, Cordoba said he feels honored, “to go to a school that is super accepting and diverse.”

Max Cordoba
Student-Centered

Meet the Class of 2022: Max Cordoba

What brought Max from California to Indiana was Butler Theatre's faculty and flexibility. 

Meet the Class of 2022: Maria De Leon

Maria De Leon
Major: Peace and Conflict Studies
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
High School: Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School


“I’m really looking forward to growing my professional network in my Butler experience.”

 


 

Incoming first-year student Maria De Leon is leading her family in a number of firsts.

She’s the first of her family members to graduate high school.

She’ll be the first to attend college. This fall, Maria will be one of 1,357 first-year students in Butler University’s Class of 2022, the University’s largest class ever.

Maria is also the first in her family to travel to Washington DC to participate in a sit-in to persuade senators to vote “yes” for a clean Dream Act.

And—as a result of participating in that protest—she’s definitely the first to text her Butler admission counselor to ask how getting arrested might affect her admission.

Luckily, Maria didn’t need to worry about the answer to her text. She was not arrested for her participation, although some of her travel companions were. But the protest was still an emotional experience for her.  While she isn’t directly impacted by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) legislation, her family and many of her friends are.

“My parents are immigrants, so they are affected by the immigration laws that the current administration is trying to put into place. Whatever happens with DACA will have a direct impact on my parents and my peers who want to attend college but might not be able to,” she explained.

Maria’s civic involvement began long before her DC trip. The Crispus Attucks High School salutatorian participated in last year’s nationwide “A Day Without Immigrants” rally.

“It was after this experience that I started asking more questions,” Maria said. “I asked, ‘How can I be more involved?,’ and ‘What can I do to help?’”

It was questions like these that landed her in contact with the Central Indiana Community Foundation, where she had the opportunity to be a Community Ambassador. In this role, Maria conducted in-depth research on a community of her choosing. As the daughter of two Guatemalan immigrants, Maria chose to research the Hispanic and Latino communities in Indianapolis.

“I wanted to know what my community was facing. Just because I’m Latina and have immigrant parents doesn’t mean I know everything,” she said.

Beyond rallies, Maria was also heavily involved in advocacy and raising awareness about various social issues at her high school. She founded the International Club at Crispus Attucks and was also a leader in her school’s NO MORE Club, designed to raise awareness about domestic violence. She’s interned with the Domestic Violence Youth Network and the Center for Victim and Human Rights (CVHR), and a teen dating violence policy she worked on will be implemented at Indianapolis Public Schools this fall.

These leadership efforts helped her earn the competitive Lilly Endowment Scholarship, which offers four-year, full-tuition scholarships to select Indiana students in all 92 counties. Candidates for the prestigious award must display “notable abilities, leadership skills, and civic potential through community service, exemplary school citizenship, and outstanding academic performance.” Maria is one of 20 Lilly Scholars in Butler’s incoming class this year.

Maria will continue her advocacy efforts at Butler, where she plans to double major in Peace and Conflict Studies and Political Science. She’s already lined up a gig on campus as an assistant in the Office of Health Education and Outreach Programs.

Butler’s Associate Director of Health Education and Outreach Programs Sarah Diaz believes Maria will be an excellent fit for their office.

 “She is coming in with this very solid foundation of knowledge around sexual violence, also some knowledge of the resources within our community because she done work with them, and she has had the experience of being a peer educator,” Diaz said. “She’s  the whole package of what our office does.”

Whole package, indeed.

Maria De Leon
Student-Centered

Meet the Class of 2022: Maria De Leon

Incoming first-year student Maria De Leon is leading her family in a number of firsts.  

Meet the Class of 2022: Jack Kane

Jack Kane
Major: Accounting
Hometown: Arlington Heights, Illinois
High School: Rolling Meadows High School

 

"I'm looking forward to meeting new people and the new experiences, and all of the fun that comes with college and everything." 
 


 

Racing remote-controlled model airplanes has been part of Jack Kane's life for longer than he can remember. He was 2 months old the first time he attended a competition, and the hobby has taken him around the country (California, Colorado, Arizona, Florida) and the world (Australia, the Netherlands, England, Switzerland).

And now, it’s a hobby he hopes to continue in Indianapolis. Jack will be one of 1,357 first-year students in Butler’s Class of 2022, the University’s largest class ever.

"My dad's dad started doing this in the '60s and '70s," Jack said. "My grandpa was obsessed with it. Then my dad followed in his footsteps to be closer to his dad, and I followed to be closer to my dad too."

Jack and his dad fly Formula 1 and Quickee planes that are about 3 or 4 feet long and have a wingspan of roughly 6 feet. In competitions, they race against three other flyers at a time on a mile-long course. The first one to navigate around three pylons and get back quickest wins.

Winners take home trophies—there's no prize money—and in the past five years, since Jack's been an active participant with his dad, they've won about 20.

Jack said competitions are meant "to just enjoy yourself and have fun with your friends."

"But it's an adrenaline rush," he said. "These planes are going about 200 miles an hour around a mile course. It gets your heart pumping a little bit."

Jack said the biggest competition is held annually in Muncie, Indiana—and that, in part, is how he ended up applying to  Butler University. He would see Butler billboards on I-465 heading toward I-69 to Muncie, and that piqued his interest enough to investigate further. He liked what he found.

Like Jack, more than 25 percent  of this year’s class hails from Illinois. As an incoming Accounting major, he’ll be among the first Lacy School of Business students to enjoy the college’s new building. Set to open in August 2019, the new business facilities will feature a trading room, food service, and a rooftop deck.

When he's at Butler, Jack plans to try to continue racing planes.

"But," he said, "I'm putting school first."

Jack Kane
Student-Centered

Meet the Class of 2022: Jack Kane

An native of Illinois, Jack has traveled the world racing remote-controlled airplanes.

Meet the Class of 2022: Kate Callihan

Kate Callihan
Major: Sports Media
Hometown: Austin, Texas
High School: Westlake High School

 

"I am most excited about the growing Sports Media program. It offers so many opportunities here and around Indy, and the professors show so much interest in the students already and classes haven't even started yet. Working with people who are likeminded and driven is going to be just incredible."
 


 

Like many high schoolers, Kate Callihan and her classmates studied the Vietnam war during their junior year.They read The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, heard from veterans who visited their class, and, as a final assignment, researched an American soldier who died in, or as a result of, the war.

Unlike many high schoolers, though, Kate took this assignment to the next level–and discovered a passion for storytelling in the process.

The name Kate was assigned was Michael Meyhoff. Rather than do some cursory research, she tracked down his family in North Dakota and made a 20-minute documentary using home movies, photos, and recollections of family and friends.

"I absolutely loved every second of it," she said.

Kate said she'd always loved writing, but it wasn’t until this project that she realized how much she loved storytelling. She narrated the video, "and at the beginning you can hear how timid I was and by the end of it I really found my voice and confidence."

"I realized that by telling this story I was not only impacting my grade and my own agenda, but there was a whole community that benefited from it and it was an absolutely incredible experience," she said.

Kate's English teacher, Dr. James Moore, wrote this about her effort: "The work you put in with calls, interviews, and emails eclipsed that of your classmates tenfold at least. I can tell that you really delved into the material, too, mining it for any little detail that would help fill out your story. "

Kate will continue honing her storytelling craft as a Sports Media major at Butler this fall. She will be one of 1,357 first-year students in Butler’s Class of 2022, the University’s largest class ever.

Butler’s Sports Media program drew her to Indianapolis–and it’s drawn others, too. Since 2017, the number of first-year students enrolling in Sports Media has more than doubled. The program, an integration of Sports Journalism and Digital Sports Production, is the only degreed program of its kind in Indiana, and one of only a handful of degreed programs in the Midwest.

In addition to studying Sports Media at Butler, Kate plans to double minor in Marketing and Theology, with a focus on Monotheism and Biblical Studies. She hopes one day to combine her interests in sports media and theology to bring teams to third-world countries to teach the children there how to play sports.

But that's the future. For now, she said, "I feel blessed to be part of the young Sports Media program and blessed to be part of Butler."

Kate Callihan
Student-Centered

Meet the Class of 2022: Kate Callihan

Butler's Sports Media program drew Kate to Indiana from Texas.

Meet the Class of 2022: Ben Varner

Ben Varner
Major: Engineering Dual Degree Program
Hometown: Metamora, Michigan
High School: Oxford High School

"What I'm looking forward to the most in my time at Butler is meeting new people and getting the opportunity to live and hopefuly, work in Indianapolis."

 


 

Ben Varner's dad took him to a local go-kart track when he was 7. That started his competitive fires.

And he’s counting on Butler University to keep them going.

For the past 11 years, Ben has been competing in go-kart racing—and winning. He has more than 60 career wins and a list of achievements that include: 2011 Great Lakes Sprint Series Season Champion; 2016 East Lansing Kart Track Season Champion; 5th Place US Pro Kart Series Season Championship; and WKA Manufacturers cup win.

In 2017, after 10 years of go-kart racing, Ben got enough funding to take a step up into Formula cars. The next step, he hopes, will be IndyCar. His dream is to win the Indianapolis 500.

Achieving that dream, though, requires finding financing, he said. In the complicated and expensive world of auto racing, it can take mid-six-figure investments just to get started.

"You could be the best driver in the country and not have any financial backing and you wouldn't be able to get anywhere," he said.

So while he works toward that, Ben also has a backup plan: He wants to be an IndyCar engineer. To achieve that goal, he chose Butler's Engineering Dual Degree Program (EDDP), figuring that attending school within seven miles of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a smart strategy.

“We were at the Indy 500 a few years ago, and my dad told me about Butler,” he said. “We went and visited during the 500 weekend. I really liked the campus, and we talked to Jessica McCormick (Academic Program Coordinator) about the engineering program. I knew it would be a really good fit.”

Butler’s 5-year Engineering Dual Degree Program integrates curriculum from Butler University and Purdue University. Students enroll at both universities, and courses are taught on Butler’s campus during the first three years. In the final two years, courses are held at Butler and at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Ben will be one of 1,357 first-year students in Butler’s Class of 2022, the University’s largest class ever. As a Michigander, he’ll be in good company on campus–76 other new Bulldogs are also from the state. Since 2015, applications for admission by Michigan high schoolers have increased by more than 80 percent.

Last May, Varner shadowed the engineers at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, and he hopes to work with them again.

While he's looking forward to starting his college career, he also appreciates what he's achieved so far.

"It's been a ride, that's for sure," he said.

Ben Varner
Student-Centered

Meet the Class of 2022: Ben Varner

 Originally from Michigan, Ben is a competitive Forumal car racer who is majoring in Engineering.

Abiodun
Student-Centered

From Nigeria to Butler, First Year Up to the Challenge

BY Rachel Stern

PUBLISHED ON Aug 20 2018

INDIANAPOLIS— It started as a friendly wager.

Teacher to pupil. Apply to as many colleges as possible, with the goal of earning at least $1 million in scholarship offers. But the accounts differ, a bit. According to teacher, it was a way for pupil to ‘explore his options.’ According to pupil, it was a way to get ‘$200 to take his girlfriend on a date to Buffalo Wild Wings.’ That’s a lot of wings.

Either way, pupil won the bet. Or, teacher won the bet. Well, those accounts differ, too, depending on who you ask.

Abiodun Akinseye applied to 32 colleges. He finished 28 applications. He was accepted into 30 colleges. Wait, what? Yes, two schools accepted him without a complete application. He has a heaping pile of acceptance letters to prove it, along with the multiple days it took to clean out the 2,000-plus emails he accumulated from different schools. There was Union College, Samford, Wittenberg, Central State, it’s hard for him to remember them all, but most states in the U.S. were covered. At the end of it all, Abiodun had more than $1 million in scholarship offers. And $200 from his teacher.

Genevieve McLeish-Petty wanted Abiodun to push himself. To explore his options. In her 17 years of teaching, she never came across a student quite like Abiodun. She knew the Northwest High School valedictorian was capable of getting into several colleges, but she wanted him to know it, too. So, she threw in a $200 motivator – earn the most scholarship money in the school and get $200. Next thing she knew, it seemed like Abiodun was coming up to her every day with another acceptance letter. And more scholarship money.

In the end, Abiodun chose Butler University. A campus he first stepped foot onto as a 10th grader, he was drawn to Butler’s location, size, Honors Program, and liberal arts education. But most of all, he was drawn to Butler because he knew it would challenge him. And though he made the college application process look easy, his road from Nigeria to Indianapolis was anything but.

“There’s definitely a reason I keep all of those acceptance letters at home in a big box,” says Abiodun, as he scrolls through pictures on his phone until he gets to the one he is looking for – a picture of all the acceptance letters and envelopes piled high. “I want to keep them to show how far I have come and how hard I have worked to get to where I am. I went from Nigeria, and tough, tough times, to graduating at the top of my class, and now really a dream at Butler. So, it has been good, but challenging, and now I want another challenge.”

I went from Nigeria, and tough, tough times, to graduating at the top of my class, and now really a dream at Butler.

From Nigeria to the U.S.

Abiodun grew up in Nigeria until he was five. He remembers it well. But he also vividly remembers why his family fled for America.

There was family tragedy. His aunt tried to kill him and his two brothers, so his mother and father moved the family to America. Abiodun still has nightmares about the pain he felt from being poisoned. He felt like he was on fire. About his mom crying next to him when he was laying in the hospital bed.

He also felt guilty for a long time. He was in charge of watching his younger brother when the hitman came and hit his brother with a motorcycle. He blamed himself.

They settled in Indianapolis in 2005. Abiodun remembers the cereal Corn Flakes and wondering what it was. He remembers the music. He definitely didn’t understand the music. The first song he heard was Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” and he wasn’t a fan of all the heavy bass. He taught himself English by watching "Sesame Street" daily. His favorite character was Cookie Monster, he could relate to his appetite. Then there was the snow. His family had no idea what the white stuff falling from the sky was. His mom warned him not to touch it. He still prefers summer to winter.

“What’s crazy is I never expected life to be harder in America than in Nigeria,” Abiodun says. “When I came here, things got worse.”

Abiodun was bullied in school. Classmates called him an “African booty scratcher.” They threw paper balls at him, made him feel ashamed of being Nigerian, and made fun of his accent. They asked him if he was related to monkeys, if turning the lights off would make his skin disappear, and if he knew what deodorant was.

He told his mom about the bullying, so he changed schools. But the bullying continued.

“The bullying caused me to be depressed and for years I really didn’t know how to deal with my emotions or my feelings,” he says. “It’s still hard, because the depression turned into anxiety,  and it was all tough.”

The adjustment has been difficult, he says. His family lives in Speedway. His mom and dad are both nurses. He has an older brother and three younger brothers. And quickly, Abiodun realized, academics and art were his refuge.

 

His Escape

Abiodun’s mother told him when he was young that education would be his escape. He says that always stuck with him.

So, when the bullying persisted, and he was down, he would focus on his studies, he says. Education runs in his family. His mom got her Master’s Degree a few years after they moved to the U.S. His dad has his Bachelor’s Degree from Nigeria. His grandmother’s sister has a doctorate in education. His favorite aunt got her Bachelor’s Degree a few years ago in the U.S.

His best friends growing up?

“The characters in books,” Abiodun says. “I spent all my time reading and studying. I would read the dictionary to grow my vocabulary. I love fiction with elements of reality because those books give me the ability to jump from the real world, but not take the full leap to the stars.”

He loves “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “The Fault in Our Stars,” and the Percy Jackson series. Usually, if he’s into a book, he will finish it in a few hours.

Drawing runs in his family, too. And it is something that has always helped him with his depression, he says. He started drawing when he was four. His dad taught him how when they lived in Nigeria.

Now, he fills up sketchpad after sketchpad. He makes sure to draw in pen, as opposed to pencil, to avoid overthinking. Pencil, he says, gives him the option to erase.

“Drawing helps me control my emotions,” he says. “It helps me take what is in my head, what is bothering me or what I am thinking about, and get it out and put it on paper in a creative form.”

 

The Last Valedictorian

McLeish-Petty knew about Abiodun before he ever enrolled in her sophomore honors English class at Northwest High School.

She ran the honors program at the school, so she had a whole lot of practice typing out his name. He broke test-score records, was known for his creativity, and of course, for how bright he was. At first, Abiodun was quiet, but as he became more comfortable, he started to challenge the class.

“We read some difficult literature and Abiodun was able to facilitate conversations when I couldn’t get the rest of the class on board,” she says. “He would stir up conversations by playing devil’s advocate, he would make everyone think in different ways. His fascination with certain topics were lightyears ahead of what a high school kid typically thinks about.”

Most students, McLeish-Petty says, just want an answer so they can put it down. Abiodun wanted to know why; he wanted to know what was the point. He was very refreshing, she says.

Then there was the time she tricked Abiodun into joining the drama club when he was a sophomore. It started as him working behind the scenes. She convinced him to design the sets for “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

“Because he is so smart, after a couple days, he knew everyone’s lines and where everyone should be,” McLeish-Petty says. “By the time the show opened, we had some people quit and Abiodun filled in as Grandma Josephine and doubled as an oompa loompa.”

By the time he was a senior, he was the lead in the school play.

Abiodun would end up with a 4.1 GPA. He would deliver the school’s final valedictorian address – the building will shift to a middle school in the fall. He would discuss religion and politics with McLeish-Petty for hours. He won $12,000 when he wrote a two-page essay about his life for a Kiwanis Club scholarship that honors local high schoolers for their resilience.

It wasn’t just teacher helping pupil. Abiodun forever changed McLeish-Petty.

A high school teacher for 17 years, Abiodun got her thinking. If she had been in his life earlier, around the time he started being bullied, she could have tried to make it better much sooner. How many young people are there out there who just need someone to talk to, she started to wonder.

For the first time in 17 years, McLeish-Petty won’t be teaching high school this school year. She will be teaching at Coldspring Elementary School. Something Abiodun inspired.

“Every once in awhile you have a student come through who you know will be in your life way past graduation,” she says. “Abiodun is one of those people. He’s not just smart. He’s self-aware, he wants to have an impact, he will befriend the kid that is sitting alone. I am positive I will still be talking to Abiodun in 15 years.”

 

Change-Maker

It’s a few days before the start of his first year, and Abiodun is walking around Butler’s campus.

He says he feels excited about the start of classes, but definitely a bit anxious. He’ll be taking Spanish – his fourth language (he already speaks English, French, and Yoruba), Calculus, Honors First Year Seminar, and Introduction to Art.

Abiodun plans on majoring in Psychology and minoring in Art and English. He hopes to write a book, and also help others who are going through depression. He’s interested in child psychology, and also art therapy.

“Maybe I will be able to make a change and help,” he says. “I definitely want to write my own book when I’m done with college.”

But that is down the line. For now, he wonders if he will play intramural soccer, maybe join student government, maybe get involved in a video game club. He’s excited for the food on campus. He hopes to make some friends.

He remembers back when he was in 10th grade and came to Butler’s campus for the first time on a school trip.

“I wasn’t that impressed,” he says. “But that’s because I was a judgmental teenager. As I saw more and more schools, I realized how big they were, and crowded, and confusing, and I realized how much I liked Butler. It was a perfect size.”

Here he is, 30 acceptances later. There may be differing accounts about why Abiodun applied to so many schools. But, one thing is clear: he’s up to whatever challenges are ahead.

 

Media contact:
Rachel Stern
rstern@butler.edu
914-815-5656

Abiodun
Student-Centered

From Nigeria to Butler, First Year Up to the Challenge

30 acceptances later, Abiodun plans a psych major to help others.

Aug 20 2018 Read more

A Career That's Off to the Races

By Elizabeth Duis '20

Name: Zach Horrall
Hometown: Vincennes, IN
Major(s): Journalism, Spanish minor
Anticipated Grad Date: Spring 2019
Career Goals: Become a NASCAR reporter; travel and cover motor sports

 

Maybe it’s the sound. Maybe it’s the crowd. Maybe it’s the speed. Maybe it’s all of the above. Zach Horrall loves racing and hopes to make a career of it. But his route to victory in the sport isn’t exactly what you’d expect.

Growing up only two hours south of Indianapolis, Zach Horrall watched countless NASCAR, stock, and Indy car races. Frequent trips to the city fueled Zach’s desire to become a part of the racing community. This passion quickly merged with his talent for writing, and he began to aspire towards sports journalism. When the time came to make a college decision, Zach knew exactly where he wanted to be.

“There are two major racing hubs: Charlotte, North Carolina and Indianapolis,” Zach explained. “From there, I felt like Butler was the best school in Indy.”

Zach describes Butler’s caring community as plainly evident from his first visit. Small details like someone going out of their way to hold a door or an advisor’s genuine interest in him contributed to Zach’s overall view of Butler as a place where he could succeed.

During Zach’s first and second years, Butler’s sports media program owned and operated a website. After convincing the director to let him write for the website, Zach handled all the racing coverage. Covering one race in particular would change the course of his career.

While covering the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2016, Zach ran into his sports journalism idol Marty Smith. Smith was a general assignment reporter for ESPN who was also covering the race. Zach promptly introduced himself and explained his passion for sports journalism. It was then that Smith pointed to IndyStar’s table of employees and prompted Zach to reach out.

Believing he had plenty of time, Zach continued his coverage of the race in the hopes of approaching IndyStar later in the day. At the conclusion of the race, Zach looked back to see the table packed up and the employees about to leave. Practically running so as not to miss the chance, Zach approached the group, introduced himself, and inquired about a writing position.

Two years later, Zach Horrall is about to celebrate his second anniversary at The Indianapolis Star. This same interest in racing has transformed into a sports writing internship at one of the largest news sources in the state. His involvement with IndyStar began in a sports clerk role covering high school sports and has grown into the coverage of major motor sporting events such as the 2017 U.S. Nationals and this past spring’s Indy 500. A few of his stories have also been picked up by USA Today.

Zach attributes much of his academic and professional development to journalism classes and his time with the Butler Collegian. This experience provided real-world exposure that allowed Zach to learn in a hands-on setting. He will use these real-world lessons to serve as the Digital Managing Editor for the Collegian this upcoming academic year.

Moving forward, this successful senior aspires to continue working in racing, specifically as a NASCAR reporter. Zach maintains that as long as he can remain part of the racing community, he will be content and excited to go to work.

“I’m a very optimistic, happy-go-lucky person, and I want to maintain that attitude. I know the only way for me to do that is to do something I love,” Zach explained. “I want to be a person who says ‘I don’t have to go to work, I get to go to work.’”

This enthusiasm springs from a desire to share live sports with people. Not everyone has the ability to see a race, and Zach’s aim is to make these quick getaways accessible for everyone. He believes that everyone deserves the getaway from everyday stresses that sports can provide.

“Even if it’s only for a two or three hour race, everyone deserves that break from time to time,” Zach shared. “Racing isn’t the most popular thing in the world, but I want to show people why I love it and why it’s so interesting.”

To aspiring writers, Zach would like them to realize that it is possible to pursue a passion. Though covering a NASCAR race might not often be associated with journalism, it’s important to know yourself and explore the variety of positions available.

“The way that I’ve lived my life is to never take ‘no’ for an answer and never be afraid. If I was afraid to talk to my idol Marty Smith, I wouldn’t be where I am right now,” Zach explained. “You have to take chances because if you don’t, you will never meet your full potential.”

Student-Centered

A Career That's Off to the Races

Zach Horrall's route to victory in racing isn’t exactly what you’d expect.

A Career That's Off to the Races

By Elizabeth Duis '20

10 Things Every Bulldog Should Do Before They Graduate

By Shannon Rostin '18

Four years of being a Bulldog will go by quicker than you can imagine.  Your years will be full of unique experiences in Indy, here is a list of bucket list items every bulldog should cross off before leaving Butler to conquer the world. 

  1. Cheer on the Indiana Pacers or Fever 
    Butler Basketball will always have your heart, but spend a night with the professionals cheering on the Pacers or Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
     
  2. Live concerts
    Indy has access to some of the coolest live music venues, such as Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center (formerly known as  Klipsch), The Old National Centre, and the HiFi. See your favorite artists come through Indy in intimate and unique venues. Seeing Rihanna live wasn’t on my bucket list when I came to college, but after experiencing it, it should have been.
     
  3. Walk to Newfields (formerly the IMA)
    Free membership for Butler students includes access to a world of art, almost in your backyard. Take a relaxing walk down the canal, and you’ve arrived at 152 acres of gardens, grounds, and galleries. Be sure to explore The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres while
    Funky Bones
    Image courtesy of Newfields. 
    the weather is nice, including Funky Bones - a great spot for an afternoon picnic with friends.
     
  4. Intern in Indy
    Indy has access to cool, exciting intern opportunities. Indianapolis professionals have connections near and far that could help launch your career. Being an intern in Indianapolis lets you connect even more to the community and see why many young professionals call Indy home. Butler Students have had opportunities to work with The Indiana Pacers, Do317, Eli Lilly, Roche and more, bettering themselves and their city.
     
  5. Represent at a Colt’s Game
    Nothing makes you feel more a part of the Indy community more than being at a packed Colt’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium with fans clad in blue and white. Fun fact: you can also get a group together and tour the stadium.
     
  6. Festivals
    Fill up on the best Indy has to offer. Take a break from the grind of studying to check out popular festivals such as Heartland Film Fest, First Friday Food Trucks, The Taste of Broad Ripple, and the many art shows happening around Broad Ripple and Rocky Ripple areas.
     
  7. Volunteer with our non profits
    Working with Indianapolis nonprofits is fulfilling and there are many causes to get connected with. Bulldogs have had the chance to be inspired by organizations such as Girls Rock, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, People For Urban Progress, and The Damien Center, among many other local nonprofits. Butler encourages its students to be active leaders on campus and within their communities, demonstrated by sending ‘Dawgs out to better Indy.
     
    Fountain Square
    Image dourtesy of Visit Indy.
  8. Fountain Square
    An artistic and lively section of Downtown, Fountain Square offers some of the best in entertainment, food, and nightlife. Fountain Square is known for its lively art culture and entertainment, with highlights such as the Fountain Square Music Festival, the iconic  Duckpin Bowling, RadioRadio venue, and the artist studios in the Murphy Building.
     
  9. Shop local (Mass Ave)
    Indy has no shortage of small and local businesses to support. Mass Ave is home to many locally owned shops and restaurants to explore on a fun weekend. Mass Ave is located a short 15-minute drive from campus, and you will never be bored roaming downtown’s shops and restaurants. Some Bulldogs favorite memories have been made by going to Mass Ave without a plan and finding their new favorite local restaurant or shop.
     
  10. Take cliche “I love my city & I never want to leave” pictures by Soldier and Sailors Monument / Monument Circle
    A popular tourist attraction, anyone new to Indy should go see Monument Circle. It’s especially fun when it is lit up during the holiday season. As one of the most photogenic spots in Indy, it may be the quintessential Indianapolis selfie sight. It’s almost like being a tourist in a city you’ve lived in for four years.
Downtown Indy
Student-Centered

10 Things Every Bulldog Should Do Before They Graduate

A bucket list of items every bulldog should cross off before leaving Butler to conquer the world. 

Big Break

Megan Ward MS ’13

from Spring 2016

Guns N’ Roses. Senses Fail. Thomas Rhett. Florida Georgia Line. All are musical influences of KaraKara, a band out of Louisville, Kentucky, who has opened for The Ataris, Asher Roth, and Walk the Moon among others. KaraKara also is the latest to sign with Butler’s Indyblue Entertainment. Chris Allen ’89, who has scouted many great bands and is a Vice President of A&R for Global Music Publishing, connected KaraKara with Cutler Armstrong, Creative Media and Entertainment (CME) Instructor at Butler. 

The whirlwind process of making an album hasn’t been without its challenges for KaraKara. The biggest being writing every song “long distance without a single band member being in the same city. We had only one weekend of rehearsals with everyone in the same room before we recorded,” said member Sam Varga. 

And the biggest surprise? “The talent and insights of the [Butler] students involved with the project. Not only is the studio amazing, everyone behind the board was awesome. We never felt like we were missing out on anything [by working] with the students and Indyblue,” added Varga. 

In fact, it was invaluable to KaraKara to get the feedback of their peers—and target audience—while recording. During the intense three-and-a-half days of recording, Butler students pushed KaraKara to experiment with different sounds—“a cool experience” according to the band. 

Each year Butler students produce a full album— everything from finding talent and recording to mixing and mastering the final product—as part of their capstone course in the Recording Industry Studies program. Past artists include locals Jenna Epkey and Jai Baker Band. 

“I believe it’s better to have hands-on experience versus learning from a PowerPoint,” said Armstrong. 

He isn’t alone. Two grants—one from Butler’s Innovation Fund (earned by CME Department Chair Ken Creech), and one from the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association—were awarded to create Indyblue Entertainment. 

Throughout the recording process, students work with Armstrong and Technical Services Coordinator Mark Harris—both vital to the recording process, listening and providing valuable feedback to the students. Visiting Professor Richard Ash also was instrumental in the recording process, even demonstrated various mixing techniques. Ash is a multiple gold- and platinum-record earning mixer/producer and former Vice President of Guitar’s Center’s professional division. 

At Indyblue, students also get to collaborate with other industry pros like mastering engineer Andy VanDette and Indianapolis-based lawyer Robert Meitus. Names not familiar? VanDette has worked with Whitney Houston and the Beastie Boys (to name a couple) and Meitus specializes in entertainment contracts and intellectual property. 

KaraKara has hopes of working with industry heavyweights as well. “Dreaming big” Varga said he hopes Scott Borchetta or Shane McAnally take a listen to the band’s album. 

As for the album release, it’s slated for early 2016. While there aren’t any concrete plans, Varga promised, “There will be a party. There is always a party.” 

About Indyblue Entertainment

Since its launch in 2013, Indyblue has released six albums. Along with a full-length album, each year students produce and market other recordings, including a music sampler of local artists and various audio productions for radio and internet. Any profits go toward funding the next year’s project. CCOM has two, industry-standard professional recording studios on Butler’s campus. 

Indyblue Student Team 

Recording and Mixing Engineer/ Producer: Ryan Hallquist 

Assistant Engineers/ Producers: Marco Rosas, Phillip Tock, Jesse May, Jordan Fuchs, Matt Brooks, Dan Fuson, Charell Luckey, Javier Perez 

Assistant Mix Engineers: Marco Rosas, Jesse May, Phillip Tock 

Album Artwork and Photography: Cate Pickens 

Liner Notes and Credit Coordination: Matt Brooks 

Social Media Coordination: Grey Gordon 

Student-Centered

Big Break

by Megan Ward MS ’13

from Spring 2016

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Day in the Life: Logan Schwering

Megan Ward MS ’13

from Fall 2016

Logan walking to classTold early on in his Butler career to take advantage of all that Butler offers—connect with professors, participate in student organizations, and take on leadership opportunities—it’s clear Logan heeded these wise words. Seriously, just look at his typical day (see sidebar).

An Eagle Scout and a runner who averages 25–35 miles per week, Logan also gets a workout carrying his backpack all day. His must-haves to get through the day include the obvious—textbooks/notebooks, laptop, and pencil bag— and several extras: snacks (“and lots of them”); KGP—Knowing God Personally—booklets (“never know when there may be a friend who needs encouragement”); dry-erase marker; loose change; a spoon (for snacks); and glasses. Now we know why he never turns down Pancake Night in Atherton!

Logan typically studies in a classroom in Jordan Hall, listening to music unless he’s studying for an exam. Group studying? Only with people who he knows will keep him focused and motivated.

To stay motivated and recharge during free time and on the weekends, Logan takes advantage of good weather by running on the Canal and Monon trails, as well as exploring Broad Ripple and downtown Indy. Cheering on the Dawgs from the Dawg Pound and trying new restaurants with friends also are favorites.

Unable to pick a single favorite experience at Butler, Logan gave me seven. Yes, seven. The list included Dinner with 10 Bulldogs (thank you, alumni!), serving as a Resident Assistant, being elected Vice President of Student Initiatives for SGA, and studying abroad as part of Leadership London. While there are “lots of must-dos before [he] graduates,” he has two in particular on his mind: going to Devour Downtown in Indy and seeing the men’s basketball team win the NCAA championship. No pressure, though. He’d be okay if the latter happened after he graduates.

LOGAN’S TYPICAL MONDAY

7:00 AM—Wake up—time for an early-morning workout before classes!

7:30-9:15 AM—Workout at the HRC or go for a run around campus/ Indy area. Love starting my day with a long run!

9:30 AM—Quick shower, get dressed, and pack backpack for class. Let the long day of class begin!

10:00 AM—First class of the day, the lecture-based GHS: Postcolonial Studies—Caribbean.

11:00 AM—Next up, is a hands-on Information Technology class.

Logan in classNOON—Lunch in Atherton with some fellow RAs, then back to room to pack my bag for afternoon classes.

1:00 PM—Off to Organizational Behavior in the basement of Irwin Library; at least we get to mix it up with lectures, presentations, and in-class activities.

2:25 PM—Time for Business Law in Holcomb Observatory… wait, why are we in the observatory, again?!

3:45 PM—Do homework at library before meetings begin. Must. Focus.

5:15 PM—Ross Hall staff meeting… hopefully it includes some good snacks!

6:00 PM—Dinner in Atherton. Fingers crossed it’s Pancake Night!

7:00 PM—Check in and study with frat brothers at Phi Delta Theta before my Student Initiatives Board meeting at 9:00 PM.

10:00 PM—Finish up homework/studying in Jordan Hall before heading back to my room to talk with residents— you never know who might stop in to chat!

MIDNIGHT—Get ready for bed. Every day is an adventure, but I’m blessed to be a Butler Bulldog!

Student-Centered

Day in the Life: Logan Schwering

by Megan Ward MS ’13

from Fall 2016

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Day in the Life: Cristina Alma McNeiley

Megan Ward MS ’13

from Fall 2016

Cristina with students“You’re going to leave this place and go to college” are the words first-generation college student Cristina heard from her parents. She admits that, during her first semester of college, it was a struggle to find a good balance between schoolwork and having fun. Her advice? “Use your time wisely when it comes to schoolwork, and take advantage of any free time you have to do what makes you happy.”

Cristina clearly has found the sweet spot, balancing a heavy course-load, SGA leadership, and outings to downtown Indy. Speaking of sweets, they’re a favorite of Cristina’s at the dining hall. She says, “Atherton really hooks it up with the desserts”—soft cookies, a sundae bar, and vanilla cake with pink frosting—she’s “in heaven.” It sounds like Butler basketball in Hinkle isn’t the only thing that fills her heart with joy!

To avoid running back-and-forth to her room throughout the day, Cristina packs everything she needs for the day in her backpack: books, supplies, and, of course, snacks! And, if she could, every semester she would take a class with Professor Jess Butler, who “keeps sociology interesting” and “cares about how her students are doing in and out of the classroom—which says a lot.”

During her (rare) free time, Cristina enjoys going out to eat, taking advantage of SGA late-night programs, watching movies, and napping. As for the future, she’s dreaming of doing the “fountain hop” before graduating and attending law school after graduation. She hopes to practice law in Indy or Chicago and have her own law firm someday; then, she wants to own an art gallery. Ultimately, she wants to say, “I always did what I loved.”

Cristina's Typical Monday

9:30 AM—Wake up, eat breakfast, pack and prepare for my morning meeting and then class.

10:45 AM—Leave Apartment Village and walk to Atherton for my

11:00 AM meeting with Jen Agnew to talk about what I’ll cover in my Diversity and Inclusion Board meeting later today… or sometimes we just talk about how everything is going.

Cristina walking to classNOON—Statistics class. I’m not the greatest when it comes to math, but I try my hardest to pay attention and ask questions.

1:00 PM—Time for Research Methods. I try to stay focused, but sometimes it gets hard—it’s one of my longest classes.

2:15 PM—Time to grab something to eat at C-Club, say “hi” to people in the Diversity Center, or walk back to my room for a power nap.

3:50 PM—YES, last class of the day. Juvenile Justice and Delinquency is so interesting, and I have a few friends in this class.

5:05 PM—Head to Atherton for my board meeting at 6:00 PM. I’m looking forward to our great upcoming programs!

7:00 PM—Time to grab some food and go back to Apartment Village to eat, or my boyfriend will come over and we eat together.

9:15 PM—Final meeting of the day! I love being around these individuals in SGA Cabinet. We make sure that we get the important things done first, but always save time to catch up and relax. Sometimes, it’s my favorite part of any Monday.

10:40 PM—Time to get some work done at the library or the apartment.

1:00 AM—Bedtime! I try hard to get to sleep by this time—depending on my workload.

Travel Bound

Cindy Dashnaw

from Fall 2016

What is the most surprising thing a student learns from a Butler University study-abroad trip?

Current Senior Danielle Wallace’s answer speaks for everyone she knows who has ever taken this journey.

“Recognizing my own capabilities,” she said.

Student traveling abroad in AustraliaWallace’s learning curve began on her first day in Rome in a scenario Butler faculty members often repeat.

“Our professor said, ‘You’ve all got maps and each other, so see you later!’ and we had to find our own way. I started recognizing that I could figure things out and became more self-sufficient than I might have discovered I could be if I’d stayed in the United States.”

Rebecca Pokrandt ’15 said studying abroad gave her courage, too.

“I never would have had the confidence to apply for a Fulbright scholarship in Croatia if I hadn’t done GALA.”

GALA, short for Global Adventures in the Liberal Arts, is the cornerstone of Butler’s Center for Global Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. GALA allows students to take primarily core classes in several locations abroad during the same semester. They travel with a resident Butler faculty member who also teaches a course; other faculty members join the group for two- to three-week teaching stints.

There’s no other program like it in the country.

According to Open Doors 2015, a study of the Institute for International Education, only one in 10 undergraduate students in the United States studies abroad. Yet, an extraordinary one-third of Butler undergrads study abroad each year.

It’s a statistic that has held true for years. So what does Butler do to make study abroad so popular among its students, their parents, and its professors?

A BIG DRAW TO BUTLER

Wallace already knew she wanted to study abroad when she did her first college search.

“The fact that Butler had such an outstanding program was definitely a draw for me,” she said. “I’d be able to take actual classes for credit and visit lots of countries instead of just one. No other university offers that.”

In GALA, students can take a full load of sophomore, core-credit classes while traveling through several countries within a region of the world. GALA trips have visited sites in Europe, East Asia, Latin America, and South Africa.Student in New Zealand

Like Wallace, Alyssa Setnar ’16 knew she wanted to study abroad. However, with the coursework of a five-year, dual-degree program ahead of her, many advised her to forego travel.

“I just didn’t take that as an answer, and Butler made it work,” Setnar said. Butler Associate Professor Ania Spyra has led two GALA trips. She is a nativeof Upper Silesia Poland and has studied in Stockholm and Quebec, lived in England and Romania, and traveled in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

She led her second GALA trip in spring2015 to Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

“A GALA trip is an intense experience,” said Spyra. “It’s very different from the general study-abroad programs offered elsewhere, where students go attend a university in another country. There, they become just another person in the classroom. With GALA, they have a professor with them at all times, they’re with other Butler students—they’re seeing foreign places but traveling in the ‘Butler bubble.’”

Robin Turner led a GALA trip to South Africa in spring 2016. An Associate Professor of Political Science at Butler, she also is a visiting research associate at the University of the Witswatersrand in Johannesburg.

“It’s been a privilege to watch students grow as they venture far outside the ‘Butler bubble,’” Turner said. “For me and for them, spending 13 weeks with a small group of people is an immense learning opportunity. The students did a great job of building and maintaining a cohesive group in which they cared for each other and themselves, addressing conflicts as they arose.”

The bubble—or comfort zone—may give parents a reason to relax a little, but it certainly doesn’t keep students from fully experiencing a culture and its people. Spyra told of a haunting visit to a Belfast dairy.

“We took a tour through Dublin, where our guide was a local historian telling us about revolutionary Ireland fighting to gain its independence from England. Then we drove to Derry and Belfast, and our two guides had fought in the Northern Ireland conflict: one on the Catholic side and one on the Protestant. They now give these tours and work toward reconciliation. What they shared with us had a big impact on the students.”

In South Africa, Turner said, she took students well beyond their comfort zones.

Students abroad“Some of the experiences were difficult or uncomfortable,” she said. “It’s not easy to be a hyper-visible white American in a black South African community—who lacks fluency in the dominant language—or to encounter signs of immense wealth and deep poverty in the same day.”

However unfamiliar, though, students view intimate encounters like these as invaluable.

“The adventures and life experience are very necessary in order to write as comprehensively as I’d like to,” said Wallace, a Creative Writing major. “No matter how wonderful the classes are, certain things you just can’t learn until you’re out there seeing and doing them yourself.”

Pokrandt already is applying those adventures as an elementary school teacher.

“I really try to give my class a global sense of a topic. For instance, we talked about the Syrian refugee crisis in terms of it being the world’s concern, not just an American problem.”

She recalled her own jarring perspective shift in Paris.

“I was the only American in the room when the news of the Boston Marathon bombing came on, and no one else seemed to care,” she said. “It made me realize how desensitized we can be when we see news about other countries. It was eye-opening.”

CHANGING PROFESSOR PERSPECTIVES

Professors who travel with students have some eye-opening experiences of their own.

“Spending lots and lots of time with students outside the classroom space has helped me to better understand their lives—their differing perspectives, backgrounds, struggles, and strengths—and I hope this will make me a better teacher,” Turner said.

Grading students at the end of the semester is the toughest thing for Spyra.

“By then, I know who they are and who is getting the kind of experience I want them to get. They have time to talk to us (professors) at any time, so we get close.”

Maddy Fry ’18 corroborated Spyra’s statement.

Student in Israel“The most surprising part of the trip for me was the relationships you build with professors. You’re with them almost all of the time, in and outside the classroom. They get to know you on an even more personal level than usual, and it remains when you get back on campus. It’s really special,” Fry said.

FROM STUDENT TO PROGRAM ADVOCATE

Study-abroad students become vocal advocates of the Butler GALA program. Many tout the ability to see more than one country on a trip they didn’t have to plan themselves or the chance to go somewhere besides Europe.

“Not too many students can say that they’ve been to Africa. It felt mysterious and exciting, so I knew I had to apply for this trip,” said Fry.

Extensive planning by the University is a plus for both students and families.

“I tell people that ‘phenomenal’ doesn’t even begin to describe how Butler planned the trip. Everything we needed was done for us: who to contact in the city, where we’d be staying, a detailed itinerary before we left—all really helpful to share with our families and friends,” she said.

Students found that earning credit abroad for the same tuition they’d pay on campus was a big selling point for parents, too.

“You have to take these classes anyway, and at what other time in your life are you going to get these experiences at this cost?” said Pokrandt.

Almost no trip goes off without a hitch, but GALA students learn to handle every new situation.

“There have been highs and lows and everything in between, but it isn’t something I would trade for anything. I have learned so much, whether it be academically or just about myself, in the short time I’ve been here–much more than I expected,” said Fry.

The Center for Global Education offers 110 study-abroad programs in more than 70 countries. Find a current list of approved programs and Study Abroad FAQs at www.butler.edu/global-education.
Student-Centered

Travel Bound

Butler’s study-abroad program truly is one of a kind.

by Cindy Dashnaw

from Fall 2016

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